Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has a chip on his shoulder, and he wants everyone to know it. Oh, and he also wants you to know that his torn pec has healed just fine, thank you very much. Smith spoke with the media via Zoom Wednesday, and he addressed the offseason surgery he had on his pectoral muscle, as well as what his expectations are for the 2020 season.
The former eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft had a solid rookie campaign before faltering a bit in 2019, and he’s looking to bounce back in a big way this year. Many felt as though Smith would break out last season, but he missed time due to a mysterious “personal issue” that was never explained, and he tore his pectoral late in the season, ending a solid-yet-still-slightly-disappointing sophomore campaign. Smith started 12 games in 2019, and he played in all 16 as a rookie, starting 14. He has shown several laudable traits, particularly as a tackler. He had 121 tackles as a rookie, which led the team, and he had 101 stops in his 12 games last year.
This year, he’s ready to do better.
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Smith Says His Shoulder & Pec Are ‘100 Percent’
“I definitely feel like I’m in a great place right now, training very hard,” Smith said, when he was asked where he was physically. “I feel I have a lot that I have to live up to myself, my personal goals, team goals, and things of that nature … I’m definitely trying to make this year my best year possible … maximize myself, because I know year three is a huge year for myself and my career.”
So how has he recovered from the surgery he had last December? “I feel like I’m 100 percent, honestly,” Smith said, before adding: “Others may have different opinions, but I definitely feel like I’m 100 percent and I’m excited for where I’m at right now. I feel like I can pretty much do any and everything,” he claimed.
About That Chip on His Shoulder…
Smith seemed more excited than ever about playing football, but playing on a defense of this caliber doesn’t hurt. “I know pretty much all the guys on defense are busting their tails and trying to make their season the best season yet,” Smith said, while also noting he’s excited to see the damage the Khalil Mack – Robert Quinn duo will do up front. “It’s going to be pretty special. A lot of one-on-one matchups.”
Above all else, though, he’s looking to finally show what he can do — and he’s also feeding off the doubters a bit, too.
“I’ve got a huge chip on my shoulder,” Smith said. “I’m just really excited. I don’t want much hype going into the year because I know my mindset and what I plan to do this upcoming season … I definitely feel like it’s gonna be my best year to date, and I feel like I’m gonna do some things. A lot of people count me out, so I’m gonna get back to who I really am.”